Nigeria Pushes Open Internet Agenda

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is stepping up efforts to solicit input from internet stakeholders to cement its draft code of practice in support of net neutrality and an open internet in the country.

The regulator says the proposed Code of Practice seeks to protect the rights and interests of ISPs and consumers, as well as provide solutions to effectively address issues such as discriminatory traffic management practices and online abuse.

Several industry bodies, multinational firms and law enforcement agencies are among a list of key role-players identified by the NCC.

They include local ISPs, ISPAN, CPN, ATCON, ALTON, GSMA, Nigerian Computer Society, Nigerian Internet Governance Forum, EFCC, ICPC, NSA, as well as Facebook, Microsoft and Oracle.

In early March the public consultation process was embroiled in controversy after stakeholders picked up on the exclusion of digital rights group Paradigm Initiative Nigeria.

In July the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in Nigeria and the World Wide Web Foundation made a joint submission to the NCC regarding the drafting of a code of practice.

The organisations claimed their proposal would help to alleviate obstacles, including high prices, poor service quality and inadequate infrastructure, which keep 96 million Nigerians offline.

At AFRINIC-27, held recently in Lagos under the theme Taking the African Internet to the Next Level Through Policy, Collaboration and Education, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC urged all stakeholders to evolve sustainable policies and forge greater collaboration.

In its monthly internet subscribers data for June 2017, the NCC said the number of internet users in Nigeria’s telecommunications networks increased to 91.6 million.

This is a similar amount recorded by Internet World Stats, which reflects the number of internet users in Nigeria increased to 91,598, 757 in June.

The number of users on the continent, as of 30 June 2017, stood at 388, 376, 491 at a penetration rate of 31/2%.

Consultation with stakeholders is only one of several steps that must be taken before the final publication.

ITWeb Africa previously reported that authorities will still need to review existing internet industry codes of practice across selected jurisdictions – Australia, Brunei, The Caribbean, Malaysia, Malta, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

They will also need to review existing legislation including the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, Guidelines for the Provision of Internet Service (published by the NCC), Consumer Code of Practice Regulations 2007, the Cybercrime Act 2015 the National Cybersecurity Policy 2014 and the Nigeria Child Online Protection Policy 2014.


Marvelous Chibagidhi

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